PARTNERSHIPS IN PALEONTOLOGY: BRINGING STUDENTS AND TEACHERS INTO THE COLLECTION TO EXPERIENCE AUTHENTIC SCIENCE AND DEVELOP EDUCATION OUTCOMES
Our most successful partnership has been with the California STEM Institute for Innovation & Improvement at CSUDH. This program provides teachers with an educational experience geared towards training the next generation of learners and addressing shortages of STEM teachers in high-need schools. Three cohorts of teachers from the Master Teacher Fellows (MTF) and STEM Teachers in Advanced Residency (STAR) programs have undertaken internships in our collections. Each cohort have worked on developing a specific NGSS aligned education product, combining the scientific expertise of the LACMIP staff with their own pedagogical training and practical experience. MTF teachers developed resources to encourage public participation in curation of fossils for Project Paleo: Marine Invertebrates of Southern California. STAR teachers have been developing Project Paleo: Cretaceous in the Classroom, through brainstorming with scientists to develop a unit plan. These internships give teachers authentic experiences in paleontology, making the discipline less abstract. Teachers are able to take these experiences back to their students and relate lessons to real world problems. Additionally, Project Paleo gives teachers the chance to bring geosciences education to Los Angeles United School District classrooms, introducing local paleontology to students at a very early age.